Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Thirties in Resolven

Resolven in the Thirties

Yes! I remember the thirties, those golden years. Little did we know then that this world would be shattered in 1939!

I was 16 in 1939, living in our cosy house in Company Street with Mam and Dad, my five brothers and three sisters.

I never thought we were poor. We had little money but plenty of fresh vegetables, grown by my father on his five allotment plots (despite his poor health), so we were well provided for. We also kept chickens in our back garden and when the war came a pig was raised as well.

Every Sunday morning our grandmother, Mrs Beazer would round us up and take us to Bethel Chapel for morning service. This would be followed after Sunday dinner by Sunday school and after tea, the Evening Service. My grandparents were among the original members of Sardis Chapel and I have never found out what caused the “split” between the chapels. However I do remember the Whitsun March when the Sardis children would call us “Split Peas” and we would retaliate with “Sardines, Sardines”, as we passed each other.
Olive Herbert outside her home in Railway Terrace
Resolven was a great place to live; everyone knew one another and was so friendly.

Commercial Road was just that, with lots of shops – we hardly needed to go to Neath for anything. There was Mr Prytherch the ironmonger, Mr Davies the grocer on the square. Strangely, he was known as John ‘Poo Poo’, and his sister, Miss Davies “three farthings” who lived next door. As she was unable to use farthings any longer she would give you a strip of pins in your change! Then there was Strouds the sweet shop. The Vaughan Arms was kept by Mrs Jenkins, who opened fêtes or concerts with the immortal words “This is the happiest moment of my life”. Other shops included a clothes shop owned by Llew Davies’ wife and which sold ‘posh clothes. Jack Taylor owned another grocer and my brother Bill worked there before he joined the RAF at the outbreak of war. My favourite shop was Mr Hunkins’, if ever I had a penny to spend I would pretend to got to bed when our mother sent us, but instead slip out, put on my shoes and nip over to his shop. It’s the new fish and chip shop now, but in those days Mr Hunkins had a hall where my brothers learned to box. In 1965, I had a cafe there.

There is another memory of Resolven that my daughter reminded me of, it is the smell of the India and China shop – loose bacon, cheese, butter and spices. I am sure that many of you reading this article can recall them also.

It would be difficult for anyone returning to Resolven from those far off days to recognise it now. Looking back over 82 years, I thank God that I was born in this valley village and into a large family, The Smiths.

Olive Herbert.


Blogger annicariad said...

This lovely woman was my mother and she passed away in February 2015. Although I cannot write like her, she has passed on her creative genes and I am a visual artist. I miss her every day, and was so happy to see this post when I Googled her name!

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